I Visited Baltistan A While Back And I Honestly Think I'm In Love With Its Beauty

By Owais Bin Asad | 30 Aug, 2018

If there’s one thing that Pakistan is famous for globally, it is its tourism. Our motherland has been blessed with the most scenic landscapes Mother Nature has to offer.

With cloud-piercing high mountains, lush green valleys and absolutely gorgeous plains, Pakistan really is a traveler’s paradise. Now I love to travel. There are no second thoughts in my mind when it comes to this. I avail every chance I can get to travel and explore new parts of Pakistan and my last trip to Baltistan only adds to that. I’m here to share a few snippets with you guys!

First up we have Deosai National Park.

So Deosai National Park is basically a high-altitude plain in Baltistan. What makes it special is the fact that it is at 13,500 ft from sea level. What makes this place even more amazing is the fact that it almost constantly rains there…like all the time…24/7. That may sound rather absurd and untrue but it is most definitely real. Also, this place is the most amount of relatively flat plain-like land you’ll find at such a high altitude.

Deosai
Source: Owais

Then we’ve got Manthokha Waterfall.

Okay so, Manthokha waterfall is about 80 km from Skardu city in Baltistan. This waterfall is 180 ft high….but these are just numbers – boring, right? How about we discuss its views? So, Manthokha waterfall is famous for being surrounded by lush green plantation, streams and the food. By food, I mean the fish and by fish, I mean trout. Yes, this area’s water has trout in it. Also, the trouts are famous for their ability to swim against the flow of the water and, of course, their delicious taste.

Mathokha waterfall
Source: Owais

Speaking of food – cherries.

As someone who had grown up in cities all his life, a cherry to me was that weird-tasting red thing on top of cream cakes. I was very wrong. Very very wrong. Presenting the actual cherries that rarely get to the lower parts of the country due to their fragility and very short shelf-life.

Cherries
Source: Owais

These absolutely gorgeous looking and equally amazing tasting gifts of nature are a legit treat. Bright red, soft inside out and sweet in taste, the red cherries of Baltistan are famous all over Pakistan. The only issue is that they can’t be transported to the rest of the country like other fruits and veggies are; they need a lot more care and love. So if you want to enjoy them fresh from the tree, you’re gonna have to get yourself to Skardu.

Upper Kachura Lake aka Shangrila.

You might’ve heard of the name “Shangrila” from your traveler friends. Shangrila is the name of the place. Upper Kachura is the name of the lake around which all the resorts are built. Upper Kachura is in Shangrila which is in Baltistan. Makes sense? I hope so.

Okay, now that we’ve got that cleared, we can talk about the magnificence of this place. Shangrila is hands down, my favorite place for a vacation. In the summers, it is a very popular tourist spot. In the winters, the lake freezes and you can skate on it.

Shangrila Day
Source: Owais

Most people like to enjoy the day-time view of this place. In my opinion, the night view is much more serene. Take a look.

Shangrila Night
Source: Owais

Next up, we’ve got Sadpara “Gold” Lake.

So you might be wondering, “What’s with the GOLD?” Here’s how it goes. Legend has it, this lake once had tiny pieces of gold stuck on its river bed. People who were aware of this didn’t miss any chances to get their hands on it. Eventually, the lake ran out of gold. So now its just Sadpara Lake but the “gold” part still remains in the name. Also, this place is home to the legendary Mountain Man – Hassan “Sadpara” Asad.

Sadpara Lake
Source: Owais

Of all the lakes I’ve seen in the entire province of GB, nothing comes close to the beauty of Rama Lake.

Rama is basically a village near Astore in Baltistan. This village is home to multiple tourist attractions – glaciers, lakes, and streams. If you want to go to the lake, you’re gonna have to hike your way through a rough track, over a few glaciers, along with some beautiful streams and then you see this beauty.

Rama Lake
Source: Owais

I believe that the fact that this lake is so secluded from general population makes it the ideal off-grid vacation place. Remember the streams I mentioned along the way? Well, they’re no less than the lake itself. Bask in the glory peeps!

On the way to Rama
Source: Owais

Leaving the most strange/amazing place for last – Cold Desert, Shighar.

Right so, Katpana desert or the “cold desert”, as its more commonly known as, is a high-altitude desert in Baltistan. Nothing special so far. What if I tell you that it snows there? Sounds like something out of a post-nuclear apocalyptic movie but it is true.

So what happens is that when the weather gets really really cold in the winters, the snow also covers the desert sand, creating a very strange sight for those who witness it. The very idea of snow and desert are polar opposites but mother nature proves it’s might once again in this case.

Cold Desert
Source: Owais

 

So these were some of the places I visited during my trip last year. I’ve got loads more to show you guys. Stay tuned, I guess? Or maybe let me know what you’d like to read about next. Also, what places have you visited and what were your experiences? Share with me in the comments!

 

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Cover image via Owais Bin Asad

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